Monday, December 30, 2013

Celebrating Christmas 2013

Christmas in the Philippines is really something special. It's the time for getting together with friends and family, especially the people you really don't get to see in the normal course of things within the year. But no matter who you are meeting up with, it's always the same. There's always an abundance of food, and it always seems as if it was just yesterday when you last saw each other, except in gatherings where kids are included, because the kids always look so much bigger than the last time you saw them.

This year, Sofia caught a really bad cough the week before Christmas. She got a viral infection that manifested itself through fever in the middle of the night for several nights, so I let her stay at home to rest so she missed most of the Christmas gatherings, but she got well enough to be able to celebrate Christmas Eve with the family.

Some Christmas celebrations were also more simple this year because of the unfortunate calamities that hit the Philippines in the last quarter of the year. There was a strong earthquake that hit the cities of Cebu and Bohol, and a few weeks after that, Super Typhoon Yolanda (Typhoon Haiyan) hit more provinces in the Visayas that brought on unbelievable destruction. While we were lucky enough to stay dry in Manila, Manila did not stay unaffected. A lot of the companies I know, including the company I work for, opted to forego or scale down their annual Christmas parties so that the funds can be donated to help the people affected by the typhoon. Even our own barkada, opted to have a simpler Christmas celebration with a KFC party, that was so much fun, we are considering doing it as a new Christmas tradition.

On the lighter side of things, another Christmas challenge for me was how to celebrate with all the food, and yet still comply with the diet program that I'm on. My self control sort of failed me at this point and I ended up losing some of the headway I've gained, which is incentive enough to make sure I comply through the New Year Celebrations coming up.

Here are some snapshots of the friends and family that made Christmas 2013 special for us.

Office Christmas Party
Team picture at the office Christmas Party
My #TRA compliant lunch
Pear, Veggies from the Palabok, Rice, and lots of Cebu Lechon 

ACLC Alumni and Applicant(s) Reunion
After dinner party at Chek and Aimee's

Home Care Christmas Dinners
Home Care Christmas dinner at Main Street
Team Christmas Dinner that tripled as Noel's Birthday and Farewell Parties
Yummy Potluck Buffet at the posh Yes na Yes Home
Thanks for all the lovely gifts!

Christmas with Jem and Tim
We ended up hanging out at home with Sofia because she was still sick, but because we were all low EQ, gift giving came before our Christmas dinner.
Sof was so happy with her new mini-me Onitsuka sneakers from Ninong.
Thanks for the Beach-ready and Cold-weather ready gifts.
We ended up playing a few rounds of Creationary.
(Lego version of Pictionary that's a lot of fun!)
Our Christmas dinner came 2 days later at Old Swiss Inn. Yummy goulash,
Raclette, Angus Prime Rib and Angus Rice, and Zurich Geschnitzels.
This was sort of compliant.
The chocolate fondue, may have been more than the
OK sign.

Cliquish Gives Back - KFC Christmas Party
We normally have exchange gifts with a specified budget and a gift wish list, but this year, all of us decided to donate that to the Yolanda Victims. Then the ber-month celebrants normally "sponsor" our Christmas dinner - so this year, when we decided to go simpler, the extra budget of the celebrants also got donated. 
It was a win for everyone (except maybe my diet) because we all love KFC.
We had our own function room, so we all brought white elephant prizes,
where we had some sort of raffle, as well as games for the kids.
Ashi won the Sodexho GC Grand Prize.
Me and Tians with the little kiddos who are turning 1 soon.
Thanks for organizing Vice, and  thanks Chips, Man, Tim and Kim
for the yummy eat all you can birthday treat.

Lunch with my some of my closest friends at work
We missed you Karl Cotaoco!

Sofia's date with Ninong Tim to watch Frozen
This was at Christmas Eve, when she finally got well.

Christmas with the Family
We normally have dinner with the Tansengco Clan in Angkong's house on Christmas Eve, then we spend time in the area so we can welcome Christmas together for Noche Buena.
Sofia with Ninong Jacob at their flat, where we normally love to hang out
before midnight.
We normally have Noche Buena before picture taking and gift giving.
Sofia with mom, Taikong, Taima, and Auntie Stell (aka Mrs Santa).
Sofia is such an adorable Santa's helper.
Tansengco Family Picture, with my mom (home sick with Sofia's virus)
 and my dad, and Ria all missing this year.
Since we get home so tired from Makati, Christmas normally starts at our house after breakfast on Christmas Day when we all gather around the tree for our annual Christmas picture before we start giving out and opening the gifts under our tree.
Christmas 2013
Sofia always gets the biggest pile of presents!
Thanks everyone for your gifts.
The hits this year were Timmy's Ukelele from the parents,
and Sofia's Bad Badtz Maru bag NOT AVAILABLE in Japan,
but easily available at Gift Gate in Megamall. Go figure.
Ma got an empty Mobile Phone box from Pa and a promisory note
to get her any phone of her choice. 
Sof loved her realistic 7-11 toy with barcode scanner and real
cash register which I bought her from Japan.
She also attempted to cook pasta for Christmas Dinner using
Mario Battali's recipe.
But it was sort of too tough that even truffle oil had a hard time redeeming it.
Good thing we still had the Traditional Christmas Turkey.
Sof gave out prizes to the brave souls who tried her cooking. Hahaha.
This was her own idea, i swear!

I hope your Christmas was as much fun and as filled with love as ours was! just saying.

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